Mike is a respected figure in the development of infrastructure in Central Texas. He is the executive director of the Central Texas Mobility Authority. He is also the president of International Bridge, Tunnel, and Turnpike association. Prior to assuming his current role, Mike served residents of Central Texas as an elected official of the Williamson County for over two decades. He steered efforts to improve transportation, water, and sewerage infrastructure while at this job.
Mike is a former student of the University of Texas, from which, he has Master’s degrees in Government and Business Administration.
Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority
This is an independent government authority created to improve infrastructure in Williamson and Travis. Its objective is to come up with, and implement strategies that reduce congestion and enhance transport options while improving the economy and living standards. The authority outsources private contractors to provide specialized expertise in managing their projects. It’s administered by a board of directors whose members are appointed by the governor and county commissioners’ courts.
Remedies for Williamson County’s Traffic Problems
Mike stated that the Austin area needs to invest in improving its infrastructure, mainly by constructing more and smarter roads. He noted that while advancements such as driverless cars are redefining the transportation landscape, the only way to meet the mobility demands of a hastily increasing population, particularly in the suburbs such as Williamson County, was to build more roads. He stressed that the roads have to be designed in a way to make them more efficient and at par with the current technological requirements.
Heiligenstein acknowledged the developments witnessed in Williamson County in the past 15 years. However, he reiterated more work had to be done if congestion in the roads was to be eased up. Mike said that the best method of achieving this is by ensuring that the remaining corridors are occupied by new roads.
Jared Ficklin, a transport-focused designer, was also present at the discussion. Ficklin proposed that the current building and land use code should be altered to allow the development of ‘the future parking garage.’ The garage will be five feet tall, only an inch taller than the car. It would also have multiple levels with charging and service stations on different levels. This would allow parking of multiple cars simultaneously, easing up congestion in the roads. Jared was answering a question posed by the moderator on what policymakers need to do in preparation of future transportation needs.